Comments for Can I be left handed and still study kendo?

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Oct 16, 2011
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Sinister Lefties...
by: Chris C

I am a left-hander and can sympathize with the lamentable situation. Why do the right-handers dominate everything? The only answer that matters is: there are a lot more of them, so they tend to get their way! It isn't only in swordwork that one runs into this bias.

Anyone who doesn't think there is a cultural bias against left-handers should consider that the word sinister actually means left or left-handed. We're marginalized to a certain extent, because we do things backwards. In oriental culture, different is bad, and there is a lot of pressure to conform.

Luckily, there are compensations to being left-handed, such as increased manual dexterity, something that comes in handy in many things, swordwork being one of them.

Just learn the right-handed way, and soon you'll forget about doing it the other way. Probably, you'll learn right-handed swordwork more quickly and easily that the right-handers do!

Just as you can learn to bat or shoot right-handed, swordwork can easily be learned right handed. When you get to the rarefied heights of the upper ranks, you can do whatever you please, but for the first few years, it's better just to learn the way your sensei teaches and don't sweat the petty things (but it's okay to pet the sweaty things:).

Apr 28, 2009
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I can't practice kendo then...
by: Anonymous

I have the correct chudan stance but the only way I can hold and swing a sword is with my left hand near the guard and the right hand at the end of the shinai :( It is already second nature to me.

I?ve been doing it like this since I was 6 years old and I?m 20 now (just for fun I haven?t officially practiced kendo yet but I have always loved two handed swords for some reason).

I?m also a left handed bass player. I?m good at it but if I had tried to play the normal way I?d still be overcoming my handicap and not getting better every day like I am now. guess I was right :(

Kendo-Guide.Com: This is the common question and problem. It honestly does not matter if you are left-handed or right handed. It is about training to have the right hand near the tsuba or not.

You are familiar with your own way because you have been doing it since you were 6. But if you learned how to grab a sword back then you did not have any problems, right?

Now is that stance allowed in kendo?

According to many novels about Kamiizumi Isenokami, he practiced both stances; the right hand near the tsuba (the normal stance) and the left hand near the tsuba.

And the stance with the left hand near the tsuba seems ?unfair? at that time too. (It is no point to argue why since it is a history and we never know for sure).

I do not know if the current kendo shiai regulations and rules prohibit the stance with the left hand near the tsuba but I have never seen kendoists with that stance.

My personal opinion is that we should be able to have the left hand near the tsuba. Nito-ryu has two stances; daito with the right hand or with the left hand.

There is a jodan with the right hand at the tsuka-gashira (the end of tsuka) and the left hand near tsuba. Of course, it is rare but I have seen a couple of people who did this. (both of them held high grades.)

Unfortunately the stance with the left hand near the tsuba is something to be frowned upon. That is the truth.

If I was your teacher, I would get you practice the standard stance as well as your own stance. My personal view is not to narrow the possibility of kendo. But I do not go against the ?standard? kendo either.

My advice to you is to practice the standard stance if you really want to do kendo, rather than just giving up.


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